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92       MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

decided he would go abroad rather than stay and see his
sweetheart become the bride of another person. So he made
up a pretext and informed his uncle that he had to go away
to the capital. As the uncle could not persuade him to
stay, he gave him money and presents and prepared a fare-
well feast for him. Wang Chou, sad to take leave of his
lover, was thinking it all over while he partook of the feast,
and he told himself that it was best to go, rather than remain
to carry on a hopeless romance.

So Wang Ghou set out on a boat of an afternoon, and
before he had gone a few miles it was already dark and he
told the boatman to tie up the boat along shore and rest
for the night. That night he could not sleep, and toward
midnight he heard the sound of quick footsteps approaching.
In a few minutes the sound had drawn near the boat. He
got up and inquired, " Who is there at this hour of the night?"
"It is I, even Ch'ienniang," was the reply. Surprised and
delighted beyond his expectations, he led her down to the
boat, and there she told him that she had hoped to be his
wife, that her father had been unfair to him, and that she
could not bear parting from him. She was afraid, too, that
he, lonely and travelling in strange parts, might be driven
to take his own life. So she had braved the censure of society
and the anger of her parents and come to follow him where-
ever he should go. Thus they were happy together and
continued their journey to Szechuen.

Five years passed happily and she bore him two sons.
But they had no news from the family, and she was daily
thinking of her parents. It was the only thing that marred
their happiness. She did not know whether her parents were
living and well or not, and one night she began telling Wang
Chou how unhappy she was and that since she was the only
child, she felt guilty of great filial impiety to leave the old
parents thus. "This is your filial piety/5 said her husband.
"I am with you in thinking this way. But it seems that now
after five years have passed, surely they are not still angry
with us. Why not go home?" Ch'ienniang was overjoyed
to hear this, and so they made preparations to go home with
their two children.